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The House I Live In (2012)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 3,728 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 18 user | 49 critic | 24 from Metacritic.com

From the dealer to the narcotics officer, the inmate to the federal judge, a penetrating look inside America's criminal justice system, revealing the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself, narrator, interviewer (voice)
Nannie Jeter ...
Herself
Betty Chism ...
Herself
Dennis Whidbee ...
Himself
Elzie Hooks ...
Himself, inmate, Lexington Correctional Center
Robert Wilson ...
Himself
...
Himself, journalist
Michael Correa ...
Himself
Gabor Mate ...
Himself
Charles Bowden ...
Himself
Mark W. Bennet ...
Himself, judge, Northern District of Iowa
Maurice Haltiwanger ...
Himself
Jim K. McGough ...
Himself, Maurice Haltiwanger's defense attorney
Eric Franklin ...
Himself, warden, Lexington Correctional Center
Don Walker ...
Himself, inmate, Lexington Correctional Center
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Storyline

From the dealer to the narcotics officer, the inmate to the federal judge, a penetrating look inside America's criminal justice system, revealing the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The war on drugs has never been about drugs. See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

Release Date:

5 October 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amerikkalainen huumesota  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$16,453 (USA) (5 October 2012)

Gross:

$210,752 (USA) (8 February 2013)
 »

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User Reviews

A must-see documentary
19 January 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In 40 years, of America's 'war on drugs', more than 45 million arrests have been made. The approach has made the United States the world's largest jailer with almost 2.3 million individuals incarcerated. This means that the USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world with about 1% of all adults in jail. African Americans comprise less than 14% of the US population but almost 40% of those in prison. Hispanic Americans comprise just over 16% of the US population but around 20% of those in prison. African American males are jailed at about six times the rate of white males and three times the rate of Hispanic males.

Against this background, Eugene Jarecki has written, produced and directed this striking documentary examining the impact of the war on drugs in America. Starting with the black woman who was his childhood nanny, he interviews an eclectic cast of characters with different experiences of the problem: the drug dealer, the policeman, the judge, the prison guard, the life prisoner with no chance of parole, and – most eloquent of all – the creator of the television series "The Wire".

Until recently, the drug problem has been seen by many Americans as a black and brown issue and the strong emphasis on enforcement measures, with a growing use of mandatory minimum sentences, has led to a swollen ethnic prison population that, for many whites, has swept the problem off the streets and out of sight. But the availability of different drugs and the loss of manufacturing jobs has led to more white, working class men being caught up in this destruction of both personalities and communities. So, at its core, this is not an issue of ethnicity but one of poverty.

The film argues that the policies of the last four decades have failed and need to be fundamentally rethought. Drug use should be considered as less an issue of criminal justice and more a matter of public health. Many drug users are not evil or selfish but victims of poverty and deprivation who are trying to find some income where there is little employment and some solace when life is so miserable.

This is a stunning documentary that raises profound issues – and not just for Americans. It will not be an easy film to see at the cinema, so catch it on television (as I did) or buy or rent it.


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